Quitting Writing For Good..

A little over a year ago, I was becoming increasingly anxious about the release of my first book, Taking Flight. I looked at my husband and asked him if I was completely crazy. Was this whole thing crazy?
 
He reassuringly patted me on the leg and told me I was doing the right thing – not just for me, but for our family. He’d seen a transformation in me once I started writing and producing my own material. He’d watched his bored, restless housewife transform into someone who didn’t gripe about the little things, who disappeared into her office to spend time with her fictional friends. (Read: he saw an opportunity to put up his feet and toss his socks on the floor without me being there to roll my eyes and remind him how little he appreciates me!)
 
I remember telling him, “This time next year, we’ll know.”
 
“Know what?” he asked as I studied his feet on the coffee table.
 
“We’ll know if I’m doing well or if I should throw in the towel and give up on this dream of mine.”
 
He nodded but didn’t reply, which is often the case – I assume when you’re married to a blabbermouth such as myself, you tune a lot of things out, or maybe that’s just how men are.  
 
Anyway, here we are now - One Year Later.  And what have I learned? Am I doing well? Should I give it up?
 
What I have discovered throughout this process is that many authors take years to make their mark on the industry. There’s also the fact that the industry is changing. People don’t have the attention spans they once did; they won’t read something now unless 10 of their friends have recommended it. If no one takes a chance on something, no one knows about it – and there’s so much material out there that it’s impossible to give everything a chance. It’s possible that I won’t ever make a mark on the traditional popular book industry. I have sold some books, but not a lot, and traditional publishing frowns on that.
 
Does this make me happy or sad? I’m not sure on the answer to this. I do have a book that people seem to enjoy. Many of the readers that have discussed it with me had many questions about my creative process and commented that they couldn’t put down the material. At the same time, I may go months with very minimal sales and that bothers me – it makes me feel like a dud, a failure, a no-good hack … you fill in the blank, I’ve felt it.
 
Ultimately, I don’t think anyone should ever pursue writing for money or success. All of us can point to an author who has indeed started to do that and whose writing doesn’t feel as real as their old stuff did, who seems to have lost their spark amidst the publicity and fame.
 
Should I give up? I currently have 4-5 more books arced out. I have more characters to explore, more stories to invent, more men to fall in and out of love with (sorry, husband!). I’ve even got some murders to commit, as well as some heartbreaking deaths to get through.
 
For the most part, I love what I’m doing. I love sitting down with my laptop and my little notebook full of ideas and storylines jotted along the pages, full of my research on the stages of grief and the body’s healing mechanisms. I love the phases of the writing process. I love reading something and surprising even myself with what I’ve created. Sometimes I can’t help but think: Did I do that? (Not in an Urkel voice, for the record.)
 
As for quitting, I guess my answer is this: perhaps I’ll consider it after Book #8.